The Ontario government has eliminated over 400 administrative health care positions in a bid to reorganize six health agencies and 14 local health integration networks (LHINs).
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care recently confirmed that the government is eliminating 825 back-office positions, nearly half of which are currently vacant.
As a result, 416 back-office positions that are currently filled will be impacted.
The province says that none of the impacted positions are related to direct patient care, as the positions are administrative in nature. People who be losing their jobs occupy positions in communications, planning, data analytics and financial services.
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The job cuts were confirmed following an earlier announcement that the government planned to redirect health care dollars from administration to direct patient care by launching the phased reorganization of various agencies and LHINs under the new Ontario Health program.
In addition to the 14 LHINs, the government is moving several agencies under the single roof of Ontario Health, including Cancer Care Ontario, eHealth Ontario, Health Quality Ontario, Health Shared Services Ontario, Trillium Gift of Life Network and HealthForceOntario Marketing and Recruitment Agency.
The province argues that too many services are being duplicated under the current model.
“With each of these agencies having their own administrative and back-office supports, we are needlessly duplicating operations and spending money that we desperately need to pay for and enhance direct patient care,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, in a statement.
“These agencies often work toward separate visions, following their own distinct workplans, and are not well coordinated around a unified vision for patient care.”
The cuts are garnering intense criticism from residents who are reminding the administration that it promised there would be no job losses under its leadership.
"Under our government, not a single person will lose their job." ~ Doug Ford.
— Neil Before Zod™ (@ThatsMrNeil) June 19, 2019
Elliot acknowledged that the changes will impact workers.
“We understand that our plan will impact individuals’ lives,” said Elliott. “That’s why we have asked agencies to responsibly avoid filling vacant positions and accept early retirements to minimize the impact of the reorganization into Ontario Health.”
The province argues that consolidating health care agencies will save Ontario money in the long-run.
“As was submitted to the Standing Committee on Estimates, the government expects to save approximately $250 million this year by eliminating duplicative administration, which is being reinvested in direct patient care. The savings realized from reorganizing these agencies and removing duplicated administration is equivalent to annual funding for 700 hospital beds or more than 6,500 long-term care beds,” the province said in a statement.
The government says there is already evidence of savings being reinvested in frontline care, saying that Cancer Care Ontario has reallocated $1.6 million from back-office savings to fund positron emission tomography (PET) scan services in Sudbury.
The government says it has increased spending on health care by $1.3 billion.